Sunday, January 18, 2009

David and Goliath

This is what I would open up when I went back home to visit my dad.Photobucket

Now that is just a tidbit. I finally started asking him why this was happening? He said he did not have the time, so he just dumps it in that room. I said "Dad its time, and I am here to support you" So I took a big breath and thought where do I start? well toilet paper and paper towels dont belong in here. so lets put them in the hall cabinet. Open hall cabinet and its stuffed to the gills. Re plan, do hall cabinet first then proceed to the bedroom. Here is halfway through the cabinet, its 3 feet deep and about 4 ish feet tall. It can hold alot, and looked similar to the room I just opened. Why does this happen? I thought to take the picture 1/2 way through the declutter, but you get the idea of the volume it can hold. Photobucket

So I grabbed boxes and labeled them with a sheet of 8x10 paper, hair clippers, boot supplies, everyday toiletries, first aid, medications, vet supplies non freezable, irons. I lined those up on the table and brought him a box at a time to sort. I said "this is a fast process, no dilly dallying around just tackle it. There were boxes with the darndest things such as financials, and stuff from 20+ years ago, now that is where he started balking me. There was part of the problem. I said "DAD, if you have not used, needed or touched it in 20 years LET IT GO! He hesitated then finally I saw him throw the whole shoe box of what not in the trash bag. My heart was bursting with pride, HE DID IT, and that was HUGE. From then on out it was getting easier, not only was the sheer volume of it all getting overwhelming, who wants to comb through crap for hours. toss, toss, toss. This is what we ended up with.Photobucket

What we got rid of 2 garbage bags of junk like bottles of old lotion and conditioner that was rancid, empty pill bottles, packaging etc. 2 banana boxes of linens, I used what I had for containers as we lived 40 miles from the nearest Walmart. Most used items were the easiest to get, then the second shelf held those vet supply non freezables, boot supplies,the paper goods, hair clippers, irons (yes he has 7 irons, no he didnt purge them he is not there yet, but he will see when he doesn't pull that box for a year, then its time to go). Baby steps here, I think I might be dealing with a hoarder and an ornery one at that when it comes to his stuff, so its okay to allow the process to work. So the farther the stuff is up the less it is used.

I then proceeded to that bedroom and I am a bit exhaused thinking about all the work I did in there. To say the least my dad has more clothing in his second closet than my entire family put together. I kid you not! I will be going back in the spring and will remember to get a picture to add to this post.It is still organized. I forgot to do it when we accomplished the enormous task getting caught up in all the excitement. From that room I think we shed 6 bags of trash, 2bags of clothes, and believe it or not 6 empty cardboard boxes. just empty boxes with a few things in them piled up. I took the dresser/bookcase home for my daughter (thats what started the whole thing in the first place, we couldnt get to it) and the matching twin bed. What? you dont see it in the picture? LOL. I put in 2 dressers and an old shelf unit and organized accordingly.

Why am I doing this for my dad, well I want him to live well, and quite frankly was getting discouraged when I would go home, to the point I did not want to go home anymore. This was only the tip of the ice berg, his direct living space. The outbuildings I am not ready to touch with a 10 foot pole. I was crawling out of my skin trying to find a place to set my bags down with out losing anything in all the crap. His house is small but it has great storage and decent floor plan. He does not need a bigger house, just use the precious real estate within those walls to the best of its ability. It was all too much and I can see the path my dad was heading down. In time through the process I think he is seeing it as well. I moved on to the pantry that weekend and the enclosed porch later that fall. Enormous tasks and even though I love to do it, I can only do so much in a weekend. Physically and mentally.

My question to my readers is this. Are there hoarders in your family and how does that affect your relationship with them?

1 comment:

Jenny said...

You are doing your father a great service! My MIL is not a textbook hoarder, but does hold on to things for a long time, just in case. She is a farmer and sometimes she does find a use for the things she holds on to, but it drives me crazy to go there. She has toys that her kids played with over 30 years ago and then expects my kids to play with them and for them not to break. 30 year old plastic is going to break. It's not pretty for anyone involved.

Keep up the good work!